Monthly Archives: December 2009

Kaly arrives from the North Pole via the US Postal System. Kaly arrives from the North Pole via the US Postal    System.

Kaly and her new best friend, Addie.Kaly and her new best friend, Addie.

This story starts back in early November and ends on the day before Christmas Eve. A lady wrote me about her cat infatuated daughter, who I was told, spent a great deal of time “meowing” instead of talking in imitation of her favorite animal. She wanted to adopt a cat for her daughter and their family, but the only catch was, she did not want to take the kitty home until Christmas, over a month and a half away. Could we do that?

Of course!

And on top of that, we were going to make this a very special Christmas for one lucky cat and her adoring human girl.

The loving mom wanted a kitty who would not mind being picked up and carried by an overly exuberant four-year-old. She had noticed in the posting for Kaly on Petfinder that Kaly liked to be held like a baby in your arms. She thought, based upon what she had read, that Kaly might be perfect for their family. And after meeting Kaly and having her sit in her lap the whole visit, she was smitten with our girl.

So we came up with the idea that Kaly would be Santa’s cat, living at the North Pole, but looking for a new home just in time for Christmas. Right after Thanksgiving, I went on JibJab and instead of “elfing myself,” I made an elf with Kaly’s cat face. That graphic of Kaly in a green elf suit went in a card to Addie from Kaly, explaining that Santa had told her Addie loved cats and she was “Kaly the Christmas Cat.”

The next week, upon learning that Addie’s brother was a bit disheartened that his sister received a letter from the North Pole, but he did not, I made a card of Kaly in a Santa hat (this time really dressing her in the cap) and sent it. Believe me, I remember how it was as a kid–whatever my sister got, I’d better get the same or better. So I understood where Addie’s brother was coming from.

Kaly in her Santa hat. The flash was too bright for her eyes.

Kaly in her Santa hat. The flash was too bright for her eyes.

The final touch on our holiday adventure was to have Kaly’s photo taken with Santa at the PetSmart “Photos with Santa Paws” event that we participate in every year. This would be proof for Addie that Kaly really had been with Santa.

Kaly with Santa.

Kaly with Santa.

Finally, the day before Christmas Eve, Addie’s mom came to get Kaly the Christmas Cat. She had been in our care for over two months and it was hard to let her go. Yes, we do get attached. Kaly is and was such a good, good girl.

But off she went with a story about her arrival. Because Kaly was a bit afraid to ride in Santa’s sleigh–too much flying and fast moving reindeer–Santa decided to send her by the U. S. Postal service. Addie’s mom was picking her up from the post office direct from shipment via the North Pole mail route.

The whole adventure of Kaly the Christmas Cat was one we will never forget. And the best part of this is that a little girl got a new best friend and Kaly got a wonderful home.

The best way to send Christmas--with a friend.

The best way to spend Christmas--with a friend.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC, meeting a new Siamese friend.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC, meeting a new Siamese friend.

It seems like everywhere I go, cats find me.

On Vacation.

Last year in Charleston, South Carolina, we visited Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. As we entered the gift shop on the lower floor of the main house, I noticed several bowls sitting on the porch. A few minutes later a cat scampered past. On our walk along the trails looking at the beautiful flowers and shrubs of the gardens (some parts are over 325 years old), we encountered a friendly Siamese kitty who had to come up for a visit. Later, one of the guides told us that all of the cats are fixed and the caretakers of the property also look after the kitties. Talk about a super place to live. Although, I would worry about alligators and snakes in the Ashley River.

A cat on a wall in France.

A cat on a wall in France.

Then on our trip this past September, we found a lucky black cat on one of our adventures along the cobbled streets of Saint Paul de Vence, France. The little cat was hiding in the shrubbery of one of the houses built behind the stone walls of the village. The charming village, which perches on a hill, has rambling walkways that provide spectacular views at every turn. Our black cat friend had an unrivaled panorama of sky and valley spread below her as she scrambled up the wall. I held my breath, however, while she rolled atop the stones, fearful she would fall over the edge. Residents stopped to check on the cat, assuring us that everyone in the area looked after the kitty. 

Cats not only find me in out of the way places, but in familiar locations, as well. 

Going to Mass at Saint Joseph's in Plain City, Father Pat and a cat greet me.

Going to Mass at Saint Joseph's in Plain City, Father Pat and a cat greet me.

At home, in Plain City, cats appear at the oddest places.

A cat waits outside the door of Saint Joseph's.

A cat waits outside the door of Saint Joseph's.

Just chillin' before church begins.

Just chillin' before church begins.

There always seem to be cats relaxing around Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Plain City. In fact, one of the kitties we found a home for early on in our rescue adventures, was hanging around the church. She was a black cat with a crooked tail and an angel looking after her. One night, when I was sitting quietly in church praying, she ran in the door as someone else came in. Letting out a big meow, she made sure I was aware of her presence. That seemed to be my sign that she needed the help of Black and Orange Cat Foundation and within the week I took her to the vet and found her a home. Her new mom named her Hallelujah (Halle for short) due to her religious start in life.

Maybe it’s not that cats find me, but that I notice them because they are dear to me. In any case, wherever I go, my feline friends appear.

Our Winston when he was just a baby.

Our Winston when he was just a baby.

I was going back through old photos today and I found this picture of Winston when he was just a baby in 2004. Yes, Winston has been with me and Black and Orange Cat Foundation for his entire life, going on six years. I rescued him and his brother from a busy factory/lumber yard in Plain City. His mother had given birth to half the cat population in the area until we were able to get her fixed and into a home.

It was only about two years ago, however, in 2007, that I decided my home was not the best place for Winston to live. A cat he lived with suddenly became very aggressive and tried to establish his dominancy and poor Winston was the one he took all his hostility out on. I would find Winston cowering under furniture. He would only eat when all the other cats had finished, acting as the clean up guy. Winston had always been a long cat, but once he became anxious, he would eat when he had the chance and this anxiety eating caused him to gain a lot of weight. Whenever we take Winston to PetSmart for adoption events, people always comment on what a large cat he is. He is a big cat, but he only became overweight because of his anxiety. You can see in the photo that he was a normal sized kitten.

As a kitten, he had always been a bit more shy than his outgoing brother, but once he started being picked on, it was as if all the joy went out of his life. He hid constantly, scurrying around from one hiding spot to the other, always looking behind him as if he feared something would pop out and get him. I feel great sadness when I remember a time when we were alone in the kitchen, he and I, and I pulled out a toy to play with him. Momentarily, he forgot that he was the lowest cat on the feline totem pole in my house and began to leap with happiness in the air. But mid-flight, he suddenly hunkered back down and fled to a safe spot, his brief second of happiness now gone.

After finding Winston numerous times, crouched in terror with wounds on his neck and back from being attacked, I decided I could not let this continue. I tried confining Winston in a spare bedroom to keep him away from the dominate cat. He hated being locked up by himself, though–he liked the other cats–and would always try to escape. I tried confining the dominate cat, but Winston never calmed down, always thinking the other cat was nearby. I used Feliway and other tactics, but sooner or later, things went back to Winston getting attacked and I could not handle that. So finally, I had to send him to live with another family member where he would no longer be picked on.

I saw Winston and his best buddy, Suzy, on Christmas day. When I went in the area of the house where he and Suzy stay, he came running out to see me, as did Suzy. They have both blossomed since they left me (Suzy was also tormented by that same dominate cat and being deaf in one ear, she was always in a panic). They wanted to be petted and rubbed around me for a back scratch. They both love to be brushed.

Miss Suzy sits by the window, waiting for her family to arrive.

Miss Suzy sits by the window, waiting for her family to arrive.

I know that if these two could only find their forever home, a quiet place where no one minded that they were a bit shy and would need time to adjust, they would become the friendliest cats ever. Winston already likes to crawl in your lap to be petted. With time and the knowledge that nothing was going to hurt them, both he and Suzy would be super companions for someone who would give them a chance.

I want so badly for these two to have that chance. They so deserve happiness and love and a home that is their own–not just a place to stay for awhile. When we take them to PetSmart, they are so scared that no one ever sees their true loving personalities. And although they’ve been posted on Petfinder for the past two years, they keep getting overlooked.

My wish for 2010 is that these two will finally go together to a loving home where they will be the favorite cats; where they will be the ones who get all the attention; where someone doesn’t care that they aren’t cute kittens or needy lap cats; where someone will say, I am doing this for the cats, so I want to adopt the ones no one else has wanted.

Winston today. He has lost weight since he is not the clean up guy any more in an anxious situation.

Winston today. He has lost weight since he is not the clean up guy any more in an anxious situation.

Winston breaks my heart, because I feel like I caused his unhappiness by placing him in the situation where he was picked on. Because of that experience, he is still wary of new people and places. And that shyness continues to cause him to be passed over. So my wish for 2010 is that someone will see him and Suzy as I see them by looking at them through eyes clouded by love.

A younger and smaller Winston hanging with his brother, Booker (orange tabby) and friend Henry (who has since been adopted) by the fireplace before he began to be picked on.

A younger and smaller Winston hanging with his brother, Booker (orange tabby) and friend Henry (who has since been adopted) by the fireplace before he began to be picked on.

I want to thank Kristin and Christina, two of our great Black and Orange volunteers, for giving me this book for Christmas this year. I was laughing so hard at the photos of cats in wigs that there are probably a few of my laughter tears stained on the pages.

Just to let you know, for some reason (and I don’t know how Kristin and Christina knew this), but I have always been infatuated with wigs. When I was a mischievous (and bored) pre-teen, I used to sign my aunt up to receive wig catalogues in the mail. Upon visiting her, she would lament that the wig people had some secret insight about her hair, because they kept sending her tons of information (was she going to be bald soon?). I loved all those glossy pages of wigs. At 11 years old, I would peruse the catalogues and wonder what I would look like with long platinum blonde hair.

Our Halloween/anniversary parties at our pharmacy have always involved dressing in costume. My costumes (and many of the costumes of the people around me), always incorporated wigs.

Lots of People in wigs, including me at our 10 Year Anniversary party for the drugstore.

Lots of People in wigs, including me at our 10 Year Anniversary party for the drugstore.

So it is no wonder I am in love with these cats in wigs!

The kitten in the clown wig is one of my favorites:

How did they get these cats to do this? We have a hard enough time dressing our foster cats (and personal cats) in Santa hats, pirate hats (with dreadlocks, of course), bunny ears, and other humiliating ensembles without experimenting with wigs. And none of our cats give the cute looks that the cats in this book showcase. Most of our cats (like Fiona) have grumpy expressions that let us know there are hostile, murderous thoughts brewing in their brains.

If you would like to find out more about the book and see lots of cool photos of cats in wigs, please visit the Kitty Wigs web site:

You can see “outtakes” on the web site that show how they got the cats to cooperate–believe me cats everywhere are just like our Fiona–they do not want to be humiliated so you have to be creative to get them to buy into your fantasy. You can read about the many trials and errors these kitty wig photographers had to endure to get all those cute pictures.

Also check out their blog. If you scroll down the blog, you can find out about an App for your iPhone that allows you to put a wig on a photo of your cat. I have to try that. I think it would be much easier than putting an actual wig on any of mine!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and that all of your cats received delicious wigs to wear for New Year’s Eve!

Queen Jezebelle commands Santa to do her bidding!

Queen Jezebelle commands Santa to do her bidding!

We want to thank Santa Chuck for being the classiest Santa ever! We even had several PetSmart employees tell us that out of all the rescue groups who participated in the photos with Santa Paws event this year, we had the best Santa. And we have to agree!

We took over fifty photos with Santa. Pictures ranged from lots of happy dogs, some children, a two week old baby (and the proud black lab brother), several cats and even two guinea pigs.

No snakes this year, but we did have some roving guinea pigs!

No snakes this year, but we did have some roving guinea pigs!

The nicest story, however, was the dog from Afghanistan. A lady brought the dog in because he has been in a kennel for the past three months while his family, who are in the military, are away in Afghanistan. His family had actually found him while they were stationed in the country and shipped him back to the United States. Now he was just awaiting their arrival home for Christmas in three days.

Because he has been in a kennel this whole time, this very nice lady goes to the kennel (she is friends with the owner) and takes this good boy out for excursions to PetSmart and around town to allow him to see other people and dogs. She got his photo taken as a special present for his military family when they arrive home. To say he is one lucky dog is an understatement: saved from a country at war, shipped from Afghanistan to the U.S., and then loved by a family who paid any price to bring him to their country–one lucky dog, indeed.

This lucky boy came all the way from Afghanistan to see Santa!

This lucky boy came all the way from Afghanistan to see Santa!

The award winner for the cutest pet, however, was the chihuahua in the pink coat with the drawn on eyebrows! Yes, her parents drew on eyebrows for her. Ultra chic!

Yes, you love my eyebrows, don't you?

Yes, you love my eyebrows, don't you?

After Santa was done with the photos with our adoring public, he kindly posed with each of the cats in the adoption room at PetSmart. When he asked them what they wanted for Christmas, they all unanimously agreed that they would like to find their forever families this holiday season.

Miss Jezebelle, our long termer and Queen, only allowed us to present her to Santa in her little bed. Jez loves to sleep in her cozy cube, so she could not be made to leave it on our silly human whim. We bundled her up like a kitty burrito and sat her on Santa’s lap. Please do think about giving this girl a home if you are looking for a kitty as 2009 ends.

We hope all the kitties at PetSmart get exactly what they wished for from Santa Chuck this holiday!

Santa assures Lydia that, yes, she will get her wonderful forever family very, very soon!

Santa assures Lydia that, yes, she will get her wonderful forever family very, very soon!


Jezebelle at PetSmart.

Jezebelle at PetSmart.

Jezebelle has been at the PetSmart on Sawmill Road the longest of all the kitties now. Other cats have been adopted, coming and going, but always Miss Jezebelle remains. We are getting worried about her, because she is not one of our kitties. Rather, she is a Capital Area Humane Society cat, and we fear the results if she does not find her forever home. 

Jezebelle loves to be petted and when you go over to her cage, she will allow lots of rubs and scratches. The problem, however, comes when you take her down to move her out into the adoption room where customers are supposed to wait to meet potential kitties. Jezebelle doesn’t really like to be picked up. She will gladly rub up against you and weave around your legs, but when you go to lift her into the air, hands clutched around her belly, she gets very temperamental. We call it “showing her cali-attitude.” And Miss Jezebelle does have attitude. She knows she is a queen and you had better treat her as such. Royalty does not allow the peasants to flop them around through the air. 

So when it is time to go back into her cage, Jezebelle usually gives a few catty wails and that ends it for adopters. They think she is mean or can’t be handled. She is neither. She just does not like being carried or lifted. And who can blame her.


Queen Jezebelle poses for her servants.

Queen Jezebelle poses for her servants.

We really wish that PetSmart would return to the way they used to do things with the adoption area. There used to be locks on the cages to keep the kitties safe, but the adoption room was open at all times to the public. They could go in, see a kitty, pet them through the bars and decide if there was someone they wanted to spend a bit more time with. After deciding that, they could find a PetSmart employee to unlock the cage and release the cat for closer inspection. Or if the cat didn’t want to leave the safety of their cage, the potential adopter could stand and pet them in their own space. Then, if they wanted, the person could fill out an application.

This process did well for shy kitties or cats that did not like to be picked up. You could meet them in their own area, the cage, and if they did not want to come out, you could still pet them and see them where they felt most comfortable. As things are now, the cats must be brought out from the cage room to the adoption area for potential adopters to meet. This does not bode well for the kitties that are shy or newly arrived and a bit scared (they run and hide or try to scramble back to their cages) or for cats like Jezebelle who do not like to be picked up. Cats who dislike being carried will often become agitated and frightened and not show their true personality to adopters away from the safety of the cage. 

At this time, however, adopters are not supposed to go into the cage room. PetSmart associates and rescue group volunteers are the only ones who are allowed access. Additionally, I have heard from a few potential adopters that they were told they could not even look at a cat unless they were going to fill out an application. I find this to be very limiting for the cats. How do you know if you want a cat unless you meet them and see how they are with you, not just viewed through a glass window? Many people just decide to go elsewhere. 

I think Miss Jezebelle would fare better and find her home faster if only she could be petted in her cage, where she feels safe and does not have to be moved around. Please keep that in mind when you go to visit her. And please visit her or send friends looking for a cat. She is a good girl. She just has her peculiarities (like everyone) and does not like being swung through the air!


Obey me, plebians!

Obey me, plebians!


It looked like Christmas morning with all the goodies piled around the tree--only these were donations for pets in need!!

It looked like Christmas morning with all the goodies piled around the tree--only these were donations for pets in need!!

We just want to thank everyone who came out for the pet supply drive at Camp Bow Wow on Nike Drive in Hilliard. We could not believe how generous people were. The flow of people backing up to the door, cars and trucks loaded down with dog and cat food, was never ending. Even as one vehicle pulled away, another was pulling up. 

We loaded two vehicles and the front room at Camp Bow Wow was still packed. When we first got there, there was no room to walk. By the time the two cars were loaded, the room had filled back up again. People are so kind!


Loaded down and ready to go!!

Loaded down and ready to go!!

We got all the food over to the area we have designated as The Pet Pantry, the empty unit next to Plain City Druggist, 480 South Jefferson Avenue in Plain City. If you know anyone who needs help with food, please have them call us. We already alerted the Madison County Dog Warden, Deputy Sheriff Gary Kronk to send people in need our way. Our goal is to keep pets in their homes by allowing families to have the resources they need to keep them in these economic times. 


One of Columbus Dog Connection's adoptable pups hopes that some of the goodies are for him this Christmas.

One of Columbus Dog Connection's adoptable pups hopes that some of the goodies are for him this Christmas.

We also want to thank Lori Thelen, owner of Camp Bow Wow, for offering the use of her business for the drop off point for the pet supply drive. Lori wanted us to let everyone know that they can continue to drop off items at Camp Bow Wow and she will pass the stuff on to us to distribute.

We want to thank Columbus Dog Connection, as well, for helping with the event. They came out in full force to help unload vehicles, stack bags of dog and cat food, and act as work horses when we loaded up the vehicles. Some items will also be given to area rescues, including Columbus Dog Connection.

When we left Camp Bow Wow, at almost 2 pm, at the end of the pet supply drive, there were still people coming to drop off items. On our way home, we made a stop to give items to one of our regulars, Michele, who needed cat food and litter. Michele is also great about passing along items to other families who need help in her apartment complex. 

Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who made December 12 such a super day for area pets!!

To see more photos from the event, visit the Black and Orange Cat Foundation Facebook site and become one of our fans!

I had this in an email today from Petfinder. Petfinder’s Holiday Pet Rocker allows you to choose virtual pets including “a bass-playing duck, a bell-ringing dog, a drum-rocking rabbit, a guitar-strumming pig, a piano-playing keyboard cat or a groupie-like turtle who provides encouragement” to play a solo over holiday background music including Deck the Halls, Silent Night, and Jingle Bells. I tried it out as the pig and it is really cute. At the end of the game, Petfinder reminds you to support your local shelters and rescue groups. Give it a try today and unleash your inner Steven Tyler or Joe Walsh.

Go to:

Many of you may have read the article about Black and Orange Cat Foundation and The Pet Pantry in the Metro section of the December 11th copy of The Columbus Dispatch. I have been so surprised by the number of phone calls I have received already today about people wanting to help. When I did a search just now to find the Dispatch article, I was so astonished to see that the article was already being included in blogs all over the internet! 

Since I often write for our local paper, I know sometimes things get twisted around from what a person says compared to what they meant. I did want to address just a couple of things that were unclear with the article.

First of all, The Pet Pantry only got its name within the last few weeks. Joe and I had always used the unit next to the pharmacy to keep extra food that we gave out to the people in town who we knew needed help. But there was no name attached to what we did. When my friend, Monica Slota, and I sat down with Lori Thelen of Camp Bow Wow and decided to do the pet supply drive, we thought we needed a name for our efforts. The Pet Pantry was born. It wasn’t started two years ago–that is just when we first started using the storage unit to pass out food. 

Secondly, Joe was honored to be included, but he didn’t want anyone thinking he played a major role in getting this started. Monica, who lives here in Plain City, too, was the genius behind The Pet Pantry. She knew there was a need in the community and she wanted to help. I do have to say that Joe is great about talking to people who come in looking for help and he has been super about never minding that there is cat and dog food (and carriers and traps) in the unit. He often gives people food himself when he knows they need it.

It was a good article and I want to thank Kathy Gray, the Dispatch reporter, for taking the time to interview all those involved, including Vickie Salsbury, who was unable to be photographed for the article due to a family emergency. I just wanted to clear up those few things. I know there is only limited space on stories, as well.

Here, however, is what I told the reporter by email:

I work with Black and Orange Cat Foundation, which is a charitable, 501 (c) 3 organization in Plain City. To see our web site go to 

Our main goal is to spay and neuter stray and feral cat in our rural area, concentrating mainly on Union and Madison Counties. We do help people in other areas of Central Ohio as we have funds, but our main concentration is on the counties that border and encompass Plain City. We also provide funding (when we have it) to help low income people get their cats sterilized. We also try to educate people about the need for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), which is a process by which feral cats are trapped in humane traps, taken to a vet for medical care, and then returned to the place where they were trapped. Once back ‘home’ these cats are then cared for by caregivers who provide food and water. 

Since we have worked with many of these people to sterilize large numbers of barn and stray cats, we know that they need help feeding 20 or 30 cats (sometimes more). So we try to help them with food when we have it. 

We do not have a shelter, so we cannot take in animals from the public, but we do try to help people find homes for their pets by posting for them on our Petfinder site ( and allowing them to attend adoption events with us. Petfinder is great and we are able to place a large number of cats (and dogs–and a bunny) this way. 

We get phone calls and emails weekly from people who want us to take their cats. These are cats that are often already fully vetted–vaccinated, sterilized, and sometimes declawed. We would not have to expend any money on them for medical care, but we don’t have a place to put them. We offer our Petfinder site and also tell them about shelters in the area that do not euthanize the vast majority of the animals they receive. It is heartbreaking to see some of the photos these people send and the write ups about their pets–sometimes pets that are older and have never known another family.

Whenever we get food donations, we try to help those people in our area who are feeding feral cat colonies or large numbers of cats. We also have a few people who we assist with dog food. In the past year, we have had a growing need for help with food and with people who cannot keep their pets. Either the people are having to move into a smaller apartment because they are losing their home or they just cannot afford the costs associated with food, etc. due to the loss of a job or decreased income. We try to help them with food as we can. We have a lot of regulars who receive food. We also try to give food to our local ‘human food pantry,’ The Plain City Food Pantry, when we have extra and they give it out to the people who need it for their pets. This is the kind of thing we will continue to do with the donations we receive.

We have a new person working with us, Monica Slota, (I copied her on this so you could also direct questions to her) and The Pet Pantry was her idea. She is also going to help us expand somewhat and focus upon dog issues, as well. Monica was the person who contacted The Plain City Food Pantry and got us started taking pet food to them. She is also working on trying to involve area churches that give out food and items to include pet food and supplies as part of what is donated to families in need. We’d like to have pet supplies at our church that could be given out as needed. 

Additionally, Monica found out that Columbus Dog Connection has been ‘dumpster diving’ to find building materials thrown out by local contractors so they can make dog houses for dogs without winter shelters. Monica plans to contact some of Plain City’s builders to see if they might have things they could donate to help with that. 

Monica knows Lori Thelen, the owner of Camp Bow Wow, from our church, Saint Joseph Catholic Church. They happened to be talking about their love of animals and Monica mentioned how we had been trying to assist people with pet food in Plain City. Since Lori lives in the community, she wanted to get involved and that is how this pet supply drive at Camp Bow Wow got its start.

My husband, Joe, and I are both pharmacists and we own Plain City Druggist in Plain City (480 South Jefferson Avenue–across from Der Dutchman Restaurant). We have an empty unit next to the pharmacy that we are trying to lease. We have used it for storage and this has also acted as our temporary reservoir for pet food when it is donated. When we have someone who comes to us needing food, we have them stop by the pharmacy to pick it up. Since we have already been doing this for about the past two years, we just decided we could continue to do this and operate that as the location of The Pet Pantry. 

The only other group that I know of at this time that actively collects food for pets is the Rascal Unit. They have a pet food pantry. You can read about their organization by going to:

One of their past newsletters talked about a food drive they had:

The Humane Society of Madison County ( is also trying to help people keep their pets in their homes by giving them food if they cannot afford the costs to feed their dogs or cats. By doing this, the shelter can hopefully prevent people from having to turn their animals in to them. The shelter director, Betty Peyton, is great about giving food to those who need it. The dog warden, Gary Kronk, for Madison County, also sees firsthand people who need help and he will often take food to them himself. Much of the food that Madison County gets is donated by corporations–Wal-Mart, Target, etc. Those donations have been down this year, as well.” 

I also asked Monica to make sure I had not forgotten anything and she came up with just a few things that she thought were important, as well.

Here is what Monica wrote:

One of the lessons learned from Katrina is the special relationship between people and their pets. As the unemployment numbers in Ohio rise and the winter comes upon us, we are reminded not only of people in need, but animals as well.

There are many people today who will agonize over how they will feed their human family and their pet family.  Animals depend on their people for their very lives. Animals have no voice. They can’t say they are hungry, or cold or sick. They depend on their people to reach out to them as their people have reached out to them by adopting them or taking them into their households.

We need to help the jobless, the homeless, the blind, the sick and the lonely keep their pets during these difficult times. We want to create a Pet Panty to help our pets in need.  We want to help people keep their pets, their very special family members.

We need people to help us. The Pet Pantry (located in Plain City) and Columbus Dog Connection need pet supplies: dog and cat food, kitty litter, hygiene items, blankets, sheets, towels, newspapers, cleaning supplies, bleach, laundry soap, paint and building materials, leashes and collars, food bowls and toys.”


I have been reading Nathan J. Winograd’s award winning book, Redemption. I purchased a copy for myself and also got an extra copy of it and his new book, Irreconcilable Differences, for our local library. I had wanted to read the book for quite some time, but had worried it would be too sad or too negative for me to wade through.

The opposite is true. While the book does offer insights that are disturbing about animals being killed in shelters, the text is hopeful that we might some day achieve a “No Kill” nation. The book has also been an eye opening experience for me. I think I have been a bit naive about many things in the shelter and rescue world and Redemption has provided me with much that I find shocking and appalling.

It is still a sad reality that most of the cats and dogs that enter shelters are killed. And even sadder, many believe there is no other way. Winograd, who is now topping my list of heroic people (he admits, for one thing, to having 20 cats–very few people have the nerve to do that without facing a ton of criticism and looks of distaste!), created the first truly No Kill shelter in Tompkins County, New York  when he stepped in as executive director in 2001. He vocally points out what can be done to stop the killing of healthy cats and dogs including TNR programs, low cost spay and neuter clinics, foster relationships, and innovative adoption programs. Yet, still, in most shelters nationwide, animals are killed because these guidelines are not being followed and the mindset is there is nothing that can be done to stop the killing. Additionally, much of the blame for the killing is placed on the public. With poor customer service, the shelters push away the very people they must rely on to help them save animals.

Winograd, who started and is executive director of the No Kill Advocacy Center, places the blame for the deaths of millions of animals, not on the public as many shelters do, but on many of the larger organizations that could have been the leaders in saving our beloved shelter companions, but instead pushed for more and more killing as the only solution.

While I have never been a strong supporter of many of the larger organizations such as PETA or The Humane Society of The United States (HSUS), preferring instead to do my charitable giving closer to home by supporting our two local humane societies in Union and Madison Counties (both of which I want to acknowledge follow Winograd’s beliefs of trying to find homes for all animals), I was still disheartened to learn that neither of these organizations have been strong supporters of the No Kill movement. 

In fact, I had stopped supporting PETA in any way after I learned that they did not believe in Trap-Neuter-Return, the reason for Black and Orange’s existence. I have, however, worked with Nancy Peterson of the HSUS on feral cat issues after she emailed me and told me of the HSUS’s new focus on feral cats. The HSUS now provides informational books, pamphlets, and links to help those doing TNR in their communities. The HSUS recently got on board a few years ago about TNR and feral cats and now have a very nice site devoted exclusively to feral cat issues.

And now HSUS is also on board about No Kill. 

In a blog on Care2, Sharon Seltzer with the rescue group, Heaven Can Wait Sanctuary, writes about a change in the goals for the Humane Society of the United States. They now are advocating a “No Kill Community.” Read Sharon’s blog here: New Goal for HSUS

To read Wayne Pacelle’s blog on a new “No Kill Community,” in which he interviews Robin Starr, CEO of the Richmond SPCA, begin with: Part One, “No Kill: Q & A with Robin Starr, Richmond SPCA.”

You can read the follow ups in Part Two and Part Three.

Pacelle, who is the CEO of the HSUS, has met much criticism from Winograd. 

Winograd offers his view on Wayne Pacelle’s new take on a “No Kill Community” in a recent blog entry called, “Going Rogue.” Most of what Winograd writes shows the inconsistencies in what Pacelle has said in the past and what he is saying now. “Going Rogue” gives a lot of insight into the mindset of Pacelle and the HSUS.

I have to say, though, that I am thrilled that Pacelle and the HSUS are finally pushing for a date when all animals in shelters that can be saved will be. The HSUS is so large that once they begin advocating for anything, it is not long before change comes. And Pacelle, who I heard talk at the beginning of November, is a very winning and charismatic speaker who can be very persuasive.

I have often heard that no shelter can really call itself “No Kill.” What people always say is that, of course, shelters have to kill sick and injured animals, so they cannot truly be completely “No Kill.” Winograd is not advocating allowing an animal to suffer. He does say that shelters should do all they can to help every animal unless there truly is nothing that can be done. Our two humane societies are on board with that aspect. They treat heartworm positive dogs and mend broken legs and evaluate animals thoroughly before giving up on them. A No Kill shelter is one that only kills an animal for the same reasons that an owner would have their beloved pet euthanized. They do not do it for space, for convenience, because there are too many black cats in the shelter, or because they are “saving animals from a fate worse than death.” 

I believe in No Kill and helping every animal have a chance at a happy home. Now that the HSUS is on board with what many of the smaller rescues and shelters have always believed, I hope we will see the kind of world Nathan Winograd has pushed for.

Subscribe by Email